Almost two weeks after Apple Inc. secured permission to test its autonomous-car technology in California, the first images of the vehicle have been captured on Silicon Valley roads.
The car, a white Lexus RX450h crossover, was spotted by a driver somewhere in the Silicon Valley area, and the footage was then passed along to Bloomberg News. The car appears to be outfitted with standard third-party sensors and hardware, including a Velodyne-made LIDAR sensor, two radar units and a number of cameras, according to Bloomberg.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
It’s unclear what type of data Apple is gathering here, given the secrecy of its Project Titan autonomous car unit. But we do know, from various reports and rumblings out of Cupertino, that Apple has ditched its ambitions to build an entirely new vehicle from scratch and has instead shifted focused to building autonomous software it could develop for existing car markers.
California has so far granted autonomous car testing permits to 30 companies, a mix of tech players, startups, carmakers and automotive suppliers. Lawmakers are rewriting legislation to allow the testing of autonomous cars without the presence of a driver, though the ability to intercede remotely would be required.
In addition to Apple, both Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and startup Zoox Inc. are using Lexus RX450 models, made by Toyota Motor Corp., to test their self-driving car technology, according to the California DMV.